Umbrella Company Employees and others seeking new work opportunities should be careful about what they post on social media if they want prospective hirers to view them favourably, a new study from Hays Recruitment concludes.

In its poll of job-hunters, Hays found that 45% believed that their previous Twitter activity should never be used by prospective employers to guide hiring decisions; however, 55% believed that Twitter history was relevant and should be taken into account. 42% of the latter thought that hiring decisions influenced by social media should depend on an employee’s occupation.

Hays director Steve Orr said that the burgeoning uptake of social media was blurring the distinction between personal and professional lives. No employer, he continued, should decide whether to hire solely on the basis of what they find online; however, it has become exceptionally easy for prospective hirers to glean “an incredible level” of personal data about potential employees with a quick search.

He added: “Our survey shows that 45% of job hunters are leaving themselves at risk as they don’t believe that employers should look at past tweets. People should use social media responsibly and apply the appropriate privacy settings to avoid distracting an employer from anything other than the task at hand of assessing their suitability for the job.”

The Hays study recommends creating separate personal and private accounts, and being circumspect about what is shared (“…if it’s something you wouldn’t want a new employer to see, don’t post it.”). It also advises candidates to check their privacy settings regularly so that they know what is going public in their name.

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